Skip to main content

It’s the month of May. That means all eyes are peeled on qualifying for the Indy 500 scheduled to run on Memorial Day. The long-running race is steeped in history and pageantry. Since Roger Penske took over ownership in 2020, there have been a lot of upgrades. There has also been fear that some of the Memorial Day institutions of the Indy 500 would be relegated to the garbage heap of history. And those fears include replacing the infamous trough urinals in the Men’s restrooms. 

The 125 urinals are a particularly special feature of the Speedway

urinal troughs with users
A group of men wearing dresses as part of a fancy dress challenge pee in a urinal | Photo by Gideon Mendel/In Pictures/Corbis via Getty Images

A particularly special feature of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they have been an institution for decades. The yearly sights and smells of the Indy 500 urinals greet you with the familiar stainless steel troughs in all of the Men’s restrooms. It wouldn’t be the Indy 500-no, it wouldn’t be summer itself without those gleaming silver urinals glistening in the sun.

In February when word spread that the urinal troughs were being taken out of the restrooms panic ensued. It was such a concern that track president Doug Boles tweeted about it. “The troughs will be replaced…with troughs. Those will be nicer, updated, and reflect the nice updates to the rest of the facility.”

The urinals are an Indy 500 institution

Urinal troughs
General view of urinals | Photo by Dave Howarth/PA Images via Getty Images

There was a great sigh of relief. The institution of standing surrounded by those with similar pursuits as one urinates is an Indy tradition. Taking away the troughs would be as serious as the removal of the iconic green and white wooden garages in 1985. Possibly worse.

They are a hallmark of the Speedway. It was so important that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has now released a special T-shirt commemorating the troughs. The month of May will now be just a little more special with new urinal troughs maintaining the decades-long tradition of peeing in them.

Urinal troughs are mostly a thing of the past. Wrigley Field and Indy 500 are the two that come to mind as a couple of sporting events that feature them. Beyond that the piss-list gets short. 

These orange commemorative T-shirts are a fitting urinal trough tribute

Indy 500 urinal commemorative t-shirt
Indy 500 urinal commemorative t-shirt | IMS

These orange commemorative T-shirts are a fitting tribute, especially for those who consume beer at the event. The frequent stops to the troughs as the cars can be heard racing around the track are precious moments. Especially, if the day turns into a typical Indiana weekend of humidity and heat. And that makes these commemorative shirts special too.

Messing with traditions is beyond what is acceptable for the Indy 500. From singing “Back Home Again In Indiana,” to those urinals, it just mustn’t be messed with. Thankfully, the IMS majordomos not only live by it but are now immortalizing the urinal troughs forever with these shirts. At the Indy 500 tradition shall never be forsaken. 


Why Do They Drink Milk After the Indianapolis 500?